DOESN’T IT JUST FIGURE? – Marilyn Armstrong

There’s a German word that has been adopted in Yiddish and Hebrew that means exactly this. The Urban Dictionary had a definition, which was a surprise. I didn’t know the word had crept into English.


A German or Yiddish word used in English because there’s no precise English equivalent. It is variously translated as unexpectedly, just to spite, despite everything, whaddayaknow, of course, just my luck, in fact, actually.

Basically, it’s an adverb which captures the essence of Murphy’s Law, “because of course, something HAS to go wrong.”

Notes and Usage:

Davka generally precedes the subject: “The one day I get to uni early, davka my class was canceled!”

It can also show up after the subject: “The one day I get to uni early, davka I left my pen at home!” or  “I only had time to study the first 3 chapters for the exam. Davka the essay was in chapter 4!” or  “For the first hour of the movie, I was fine. As soon as the exciting part started, davka I had to go to the toilet!” or “I leave my car for just 5 minutes. Davka I get a parking ticket!”

#yiddish#jewish#hebrew#stam#nu#murphy’s law
by AndreRD June 04, 2013

“Doesn’t it just figure … (fill in the blank).”

Examples include personal items like:

      • You delay your picnic a day or two because you think the grey weather is going to get better, but the days that come are far worse than the one from which you delayed.
      • You go out of your way to “do the right thing” and somehow, everything goes wrong and you wind up arrested by the cops or sued or some other terrible results.
      • You’ve just been divorced. You figure you’re finally past the point of childbearing and anyway, you quite enough children. But doesn’t it figure, the person with whom you fall in love also has a few kids.

You can have the same results politically. You vote for an outsider because the insiders are totally corrupt. The outsider is far worse than the people you ousted. Davka!

In Hebrew, Yiddish, and German, it’s “Davka.”

When a situation arises like that, you can skip a lot of explanation and just say, “Davka.”

For a while, when I moved to Israel, I thought my name was “Davka.” I had to have it explained that it was a contextual statement. I wasn’t personally “Davka,” but because I had shown up, a lot of other things became “Davka.”

What I discovered yesterday is that our problem vis-a-vis finding really great care for our aging dogs is a bad case of “Davka.” Not merely does it turn out to be a common problem, but it’s one of those essentially insoluble problems. Even if you have the funds to board your dog, they don’t like being boarded. No matter how good the facility is, being caged is being caged, even if it’s only part of the time.

My conclusion? We might as well vacation now. It’s going to be more difficult with each passing year. More difficult for the aging dogs and just as difficult with our aging selves.

Categories: Humor, Photography

Tags: , , , ,

11 replies

  1. Its roots are Yiddish and Aramaic, and means precisely or “why now?” in some cases, or doing something “davka” can mean willfully, spitefully or deliberately doing something mean to antagonize.


    • It’s used in Israel to mean a bunch of different things, but typically, I found it meant “doesn’t it just figure that …” It is a very useful word. We should definitely import it to English. We need it.


  2. What a useful word. I’d never heard it before.


  3. To be honest, that’s a GREAT word! Love it!


  4. This is so interesting, Marilyn. I have never heard that expression before and I think it is great. Good luck with the vacation and the dogs.


    • It’s a great word. It sums up what has to be said (in English) using a lot of words. I was surprised to find an English definition of it. I had no idea it had snuck into English. I’m sure we’ll have a great vacation. We aren’t leaving for another two weeks, so I’m hoping to get a bit ahead on my posting so I won’t have to worry about it much while we are away 😀


  5. What about SNAFU? Isn’t it close?


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